MSI will brand its first X58 board with Eclipse naming, maybe suggesting that it can do just that to the competition... MSI explained that it has improved on DrMOS since its X48 and P45 boards and claims that generation two provides better power efficiency than before. FSB is out with Core i7 and has been replaced with QPI or QuickPath interconnect which MSI says provides bandwidth up to 25.6GB/s which is said to be twice as much as the previous processor FSB1600 quad pumped standard.
Eclipse will provide triple channel memory supporting up to six DDR3-1333 modules up to a total of 24GB. MSI went on to say that with this amount of memory, bandwidth is up to a massive 32GB/s.
When we begin to look at the board itself, the first thing we want to know when talking about any X58 mobo is if it has SLI support and while MSI neglected to mention anything about it, there is no visible NVIDIA nForce 200 SLI bridge chip to be seen but that's not to say that MSI will or won't be producing a more expensive X58 with SLI support.
The board has 6 phase CPU power, 10 onboard SATA2 ports, onboard power and reset buttons as well as clear CMOS on the back panel and a VERY interest turbo button which we weren't told anything about and we see the return of DIP switches which control some aspect of the CPU clock speed. There is a single IDE port providing support for up to two legacy devices such as an old hard drive or optical drive.
As far as expansion slot goes, it was rather odd to see not one but two legacy PCI slots but I guess there must be good reason for it. There are a total of three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. MSI has also added protected shielding around the pins of the USB and 1394 headers.
We also see a row of diagnostic LED lights above the CPU socket which will let you know what is happening with the system without always referring to the screen. Audio output is missing from the back panel but knowing MSI there is a good chance an external X-Fi card will be provided for that.
It's looking pretty good so far and we look forward to testing it soon!